Arsenal Debate – Should Wenger take this massive gamble?

Should Arsenal give up on the Champions League for the League??‏ by JH

Those of you that are aware of my articles will know that I enjoy the odd controversial one. I believe many will not accept my view on this one right away, but if you think about it, you will see I have a point.

Last night, Jamie Carragher came up with a theory of how Arsenal could win the league. It is a theory that at first would leave Arsenal fans furious, screaming ‘Wenger Out’ over and over, but would lead to many of them being ecstatic, declaring their allegiance to AW (maybe not the second part!).

With 2 losses in our 2 CL games, we of course sit bottom of this group, 3 points behind Olympiakos and Zagreb, 6 behind Bayern, who we now face twice, in losing both games to Bayern we could find ourselves 12 behind Bayern and if Olympiakos and Zagreb share victories, we would be 6 behind each of them.

Now for the theory, during the analysis of our decimation of Man Utd, Jamie Carragher turned attentions over to our abysmal form in the UCL. He went on to speculate that perhaps Arsenal going out of the CL would not be so bad. Henry made clear that he agreed, as long as we finished 4th, not 3rd. This is something I have thought since the Olympiakos game, but thought it best to keep it to myself for a short while.

The theory being that every year Arsenal finish strong, this strong finish just so happens to coincide with our exit from CL football. As JC said, Arsenal are not going to win the CL this year, even the most biased or optimistic fans would admit that is beyond this squad right now.

So lets say we lose both games vs Bayern, lets say in fact, we rest the likes of Ozil, Sanchez Walcott, Coquelin in the CL, keeping them fresh for the League. Would Arsenal fans like it? No, would we accept it? Not at first. But our final group game would be against Olympiakos on the 9th of December, so lets say that is our final CL game, we finish bottom. We are out of Europe. Just in time for the winter rush here in England, the part of the season where everyone drops points.

The big teams will be tired from European football, but Arsenal have been playing a weakened side in the UCL. Arsenal have their best players fit and firing. We can come through the Christmas period unscathed, which then brings me to the run in. Chelsea, Man United and Man city will all inevitably have Champions League football to contend with, as well as an ever challenging premier league. playing midweek and weekends, getting tired through over playing and travel. Arsenal, with the First XI playing only at the weekend, would have a full weeks rest and prep for every Premier league game.

Now let us not forget, every single year Arsenal exit the CL, we see a response, and this often tends to be a 15-18 game response. And we begin our ascent up the table. Well, what if our ascent started earlier than usual? We are still very much in touch with the top right now, what happens when we have those extra 3 days rest and preparation compared to City?

Arsenal fans would not accept failure in the CL right away, but hypothetically, if in the middle of March we find ourselves 5 clear at the top, with City still in Europe, would we accept it then? Probably? What about if this all actually works out and we lift the Premier league title in May? I think we would more than forgive our European strategy.

Now many will say it is a lack of ambition, whereas I see it as simply prioritising. We are not going to win the CL, we have neither the quality nor the luck required to win it. If you look at our squad to the likes of Bayern, Real, Barca, we are simply not on their level… yet.

I believe Arsenal can be forgiven for this year forgetting CL football, if it brings home that elusive Premier League Title.

Now I of course know this is a huge risk, just because we are out of the CL will not mean we automatically win the league. We are not in an easy league, We face Man City, one of the best and most expensive squads on the planet, and the so called smaller teams such as Crystal Palace or West Ham often get the better of their more talented and more costly opposition.

To win the league we must fight, we must show the desire we showed against United all season, no matter the opposition.

If Arsenal Football club were actually to do as I am speculating we could, it would probably be the biggest gamble of Arsene Wengers career. I would go as far as to say if he was to do this, and it didn’t work, it would be his final gamble. But as of right now, I see it as a gamble worth taking, just look at what Liverpool did without European football, they nearly won the league, now granted Luis Suarez was mainly to thank for this, but would he have finished the season as he started it if he was playing every Tuesday or Wednesday too?? I doubt it.

The fact is this extra rest could be all we need to separate us from City, and next season we can focus on trying to push for a CL challenge.

But right now, I feel this could be a great advantage towards our goal of once again being called Champions.

What do you guys think? I know it’s pretty out there but I think it could actually work, Do you guys think it’s worth the gamble? Or should we stick with the CL and risk playing in the Europa League??

By JonnHirons

Tags Bayern Munich Man City Premier League


  1. When you have Chamberlain, Gabriel/Per rosicky(?) Gibbs, deburchy (welbeck? Wilshere??) Giroud etc on the bench or out of XI then I say you can all the way in both league and UCL with reasonable rotation and tactics. #COYG no need to give up.

  2. yes
    only play first team for bayern games cos they will annihilate us otherwise
    dont reckon losing 7-0 will help our confidence for pl campaign

    but for zagreb an olympiakos- second string
    we have to protect sanchez le coq monreal theo kos
    we just dont have the squad to be able to take that risk

  3. We are not ready for the UCL yet. I’d say we drop out of Europe completely, and focus on the BPL. My only hope is that we don’t get taken to the slaughter by Bayern.

  4. Don’t give up! At least you know you have tried. Keeping the bullet in the chamber will still count as a miss.

  5. JH, Arsenal are not chickens and they will not chicken out of the Ucl because we are desperate to win the League title. I am sure the Boss and the Gunners will not agree with your assertion. Remember the Boss has said we are not out of the Ucl yet until we are actually out. And we won’t be out but qualify for the knock out stages. Bayern Munich are not Spirits but human beings. For this reason, I believe the Gunners will beat Bayern Munich both at the Emirates Stadium and at the Allianz Arena. Playing in the Ucl won’t stop Arsenal from winning the League title.

  6. Maybe if we would’ve bought 1 or 2 quality outfield players we wouldn’t have this discussion and could front strong enough teams for both the league and UCL.

    Every year we have multiple injuries (months out of play). Why would you think this year would be a change?

    Spend Da $$$$$$ on quality if available (Most Arsenal Fans)

    Save Da $$$$ and report awesome statistics and profits to your shareholders while finishing in 3rd or 4th (Arsenal Board *Cough* Kroenke *Cough*)

  7. A similar gamble : Taking your full force out(which will happen) on Bayern and see what happens next. If we win, (somehow), can’t this raise our confidence to go out and perform in other BPL games as well?

    Oh and by the way, someone said, “The result is not down to the history between or form of the two sides, but is more down to the performance of the teams on that day….”

    Reference : FA Cup Quarterfinal 2014-15

  8. I cant even believe that giving up on the CL is a discussion point for Arsenal.

    If Arsene had actually done his job and strengthened the team with 2 – 3 players during the transfer window, then we could have actually challenged on all fronts, with enough quality to compensate for injuries and out of form players.

    Now we are discussing giving up on the CL because the team does not poses enough depth, what a shame, and what a perfect example of blatant mis-management.

      1. I dont understand? If we had better players, we would be able to rotate quality players instead of Campbell or Arteta, hence we would have more chance to qualify out of the group.

        Welbeck was hurt – Arsene new it, he was right not tho tell the world about it, but he should have brought in a forward. Draxler, Greizman, Aubumeyang, etc.. any of these guys would be able to replace or even challenge our front three for a place in the team.

        Came with a Kongdobia or a Vidal instead of Arteta or Flamini.

        What i am saying is that if he had bought a couple of quality players, we could have challenged on all fronts instead of this discussion we are having

        1. @Jimbeam
          All of those guys you mentioned, are where they want to be. How would we have gotten them to change their minds, by throwing large sums at them? Doubt it…

          1. @NY, Vidal, Kongdobia and Draxler all changed teams this transfer season. If we had made a serious offer for any of these guys we would have had just as much chance as the teams they moved to to close the deal., if not more as the wages int he EPL are generally much higher than Germany and Italy. We won’t know if we don’t try. Same with players that didn’t change teams, sure some of them are happy where they are and others would move for the right price.

        2. We did not lost the game at Zagreb because of Campbell and Arteta. We lost it because Giroud was sent off. Same with Olyimpiacos , we had a very capable 11 of winning but we did not show up.

  9. Of course not, we need to win 1 against Bayern, and as ridiculously well as they have been playing this season, we still have a chance, need to pull off what zagreb or olympiacos did to us. Bayern play such a high line defensively and this is where walcott and alexis have to shine if we have got any chance at all … keeping faith until the aftermath

  10. If we had Vidal in our midfield instead of Bayern we would already be looking much better. 26M pounds, and Sanchez’s best buddy, and a beast in the middle of the park. It really is a shame we dont have him in Arsenal colors.

  11. HAHAHA While we are at it why don’t we drop out of the FA CUP and the Legue cup as well as the CL what’s next premier Legue

    Al we needed and still need is two quality players to be able to chalange for top place in the EPL and CL

  12. Stupid theory, what about all the fans that will be at the games? so they should stay at home then because we’re going to throw away the towel?

    Why isn’t anyone talking about the report that stated wenger went nuts on the players in training after olympiakos questioning their desire, passion? It seems that’s what drove them to perform like their life depended on it. Walcott’s work ratio went up 50%, Ozil’s went up 30%. Everyone seemed like they were playing like it was the last game of their careers and this prompted a lot of fans to ask “why can’t they play like this all the time?” well because wenger ‘rarely’ as quoted in the paper gets angry or yells at the players. Maybe that needs to change, if they act like children then you need to sometimes yell at your children especially when the outcome is a 3-0 drumming of a good team like ManU. If he goes back to being soft with the players we’re royally screwed again.

  13. Sensitive subject & too many ifs…I agree that we forget the UCL if we lose the next UCL game, but if we get let’s say miraculously 4 points from Bayern (1W,1D) I don’t see why we should drop…But if we do drop completely than yeah this team can go far barring any injuries & consistency (which again hasn’t been there yet)…the jury is still out!!

  14. Let’s give our best against Bayern and check chances we’ve got after that. You don’t want humiliation that can cost the team’s confidence.

  15. That article is ridiculously unbelievable, it actually sounds like we won the PL those years we got knocked out in round of 16.

  16. for those of that don’t know, every competition has some fine print at the bottom that reads that every club shall put on their best team to compete in the said competition/tournament. failing to do so, shall result in something 🙂

  17. Then we would be ready to lose players like we did with RvP, for lack of ambition. players actually join clubs to play in the Champions League. it possible that’s why Sanchez (may the good Lord keep his boots shooting), may have selected Arsenal over Liverpool. Now imagine the dressing room and AW walks in and says, ‘guys…we need to loose the CL and strengthen our chances in the EPL’…I think lots of players may just make phone calls to their agents. and who says we cant win the CL. Remember one time when Porto won it it was Porto Vs Monaco them…We actually let Chelsea off the hook as they beat us on away goals and scored their second at Highbury when we were leading 2-1 and had done a 0-0 at the bridge and we were looking hot for the trophy not just the semi final slots. Most hot favourites had lost to lesser teams and Porto was there to receive the blessings. Who remember Denmark winning the Euro when they were just invited to fill the slot left by Yugoslavia? We will not win it is playing God….in my view

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